Viewership Practices and the Habitus of Telugu Cinema
Through ethnographic explorations of the question of viewership, this chapter shifts the focus from film texts to film-viewing contexts. It critically reflects upon the embodied character of viewer engagement with mythological and devotional cinema through a special focus on the figure of the possessed spectator. It theorizes the interesting intersections between film viewership and religious practice through the concept of habitus. It engages with the question, does affective engagement necessarily preclude critical and rational engagement with the narrative? It argues that viewers bring with them to the cinema embodied dispositions and sensibilities, that is, a particular habitus that has been cultivated in traditional performative contexts and this shapes their responses. However, this does not necessarily render them passive or uncritical in their engagement with film.
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